It's Good to be a Cop ...
The Titan guru, Bruno Wolff,
breaks away for some gangsta change of pace with Mark Kennel
and Craig Reece.
Alyssa Gumkowski and Alan Arvold seem
happy to be playing on John's big demo board.
Franklin Rinko gets the facts
of life speech from Anthony Musella ... or "Big Tuna"
as he is known in the Gangsters universe.
A couple of the usual thugs ... Craig
Reece takes his medicine from Brian Conlon.
... but not a Vamp.
Here, in move order, are the five finalists, their starting
positions, and their status at the end of the game:
Rolinda "Ma" Collinson, 2009 & 2011 GM:
Start: 5/1/2; $300; Brizelli's Riverside, Hotel Belgrave [Vamp],
SMC Cartage Co. [Racketeer/Thug] Finish: 6/1/1, 6 Hits, 2 Seductions;
$2,900, 7 joints (3 of 7 Green) - 4th Place
Blair "The Plug" Morgen, Former Semi-Finalist
& Legend in the Fun Crowd: Start: 5/1/2; $0; Brzkowski's
Imports, Channel View, Greenwood Park [Racketeer/Vamp/Thug] Finish:
5/1/1, 8 Hits, 1 Seduction; $5,600; 2 joints (1 of 6 Blue) -
Ben "The Roach" Gardner, Former Finalist:
Start: 5/1/2; $300; Ambassadors' Club [Vamp], Franklin Hostel
[Racketeer], Wylie's Storage [Thug] Finish: 3/1/2, 1 Hit, 4 Seductions;
$3,300, 10 joints (3 of 8 Yellow) - Wins!
Andy "Scarface" Gardner, Finalist four years
running: Start: 5/1/2; $400; Downtown Bus Station [Racketeer],
Taylor's Machine Shop [Vamp/Thug], Palace Chophouse Finish: 5/1/1,
6 Hits, 1 Seduction; $500; 8 joints (2 of 7 Green) - 3rd Place
John "The Viper" Pack, 1995 & 2002 Godfather,
GM: Start: 5/1/1; $200; Pussycat Club [Vamp], Jack's Auto Body
[Racketeer/Thug], Frankie's House of Cards Finish: 4/1/0, 2 Hits,
5 Seductions; $1,700; 5 joints (4 of 5 Purple) - 2nd Place
I took notes, I tried to cover just the unusual aspects of each
turn and only recorded unusually high or low cash collections
(to preserve cash secrecy). I used my notes and the player record
chits to compile what I think is a very accurate record when
all was said and done. But let's take a look at the setups before
going into the turn by turn report.
Setup: Ma's preemptive purchase of Brizelli's Riverside
(without the Racketeer for an immediate upgrade) looks mostly
designed to prevent a Downtown Bus Station juggernaut. She looks
poised for a ten joint, block strategy from the get go with a
cash strategy fallback. The Plug buys two one-jump joints and
looks to be trying a sneak-up-the-cash strategy; his last purchase,
the low flexibility Channel View, seems mostly to prevent The
Viper from achieving a Purple monopoly. The Roach starts ready
to upgrade a yellow one-jump joint. The strategy implied seems
similar to The Plug's. Scarface is ready to upgrade the Downtown
Bus Station and has his Vamp and Thug positioned well to begin
extorting in low mobility joints immediately; he will likely
score cash the earliest and fastest. The Viper starts with a
mix of cash and monopoly Purple joints and positions his Racketeer
to buy the Cavalry Club in the early going. He should buy a joint
every turn but emphasize the Purple joints whenever possible.
He should have known better than to play a Purple Strategy with
Ma in the game (since her daughter, Angel, is the Purple Pro).
Turn 1: Ma vamps the Viper as her initial move. The
Plug moves Public x2 into Brzkowski's Imports to collect $1,100.
The Roach collects nothing. Scarface vamps the Plug. This moves
his Racketeer up to 7 until an audit by the Roach reveals that
the initial purchase was impossible (giving Scarface an additional
$100 but reducing his Racketeer to 6). Scarface's correct starting
gang and cash are shown above. The Viper also collects nothing
but does move his Racketeer to the Cavalry Club.
Turn 2: Ma vamps the Viper down to three (one move).
The Plug hits Roach's Vamp before realizing that she's in Ma's
level two SMC Cartage Co. The Plug is unhappy with this situation
but unable to redo his move at this point. The Plug misses.
This situation uses the new clarification for a second time
this year --it had never come up in my previous 17 years as Gangsters
GM or as Avalon Hill's official Question & Answer person!
This is that a Racketeer or Thug who moves into an enemy joint
but chooses to attack a third gang does not trigger a response
from the joint guards but the joint guards will attack
on the following turn. The last time the official questions and
clarifications were updated was in 2007!
Joint markers are frequently underneath gang members, so a
useful tip for budding criminal masterminds is to be wary of
hitting a non-criminal Vamp -- usually such Vamps are in other
gang's joints to seduce rivals. Criminal Vamps, on the other
hand, are typically in unowned joints to score Extortion payoffs.
The Roach gets Public x1 into the Ambassadors' Club. The Plug
kills one level of Ma's joint but loses three Racketeers in the
continuing shootout. Scarface brings John McClane (Cop #8) to
kill Ma's Thug. In another new twist, after Ma's joint kills
the Plug's final Racketeer (making itself immune to his retaliation),
the Plug uses his final shot to kill the Roach's Vamp (the original
target of his move).
The Viper brings on T.J. Hooker (Cop #7) to raid the Downtown
Bus Station and reduce it to Level 1.
Turn 3: The Plug buys two Racketeers for $1,500. Scarface
buys his fifth joint (the Belmar Theatre). The Viper gets snake
eyes on the Red and Black dice for the second time. Robocop (Cop
#10) kills the Plug's Vamp.
Turn 4: The Plug takes Cop #7 (T.J. Hooker) and kills
Scarface's Vamp. Scarface recruits two Thugs (for a total of
four). However, then the Viper uses Dudley Do-Right (Cop #4)
to kill those same two recruits. The Viper also vamps the Roach.
Turn 5: Ma gets Public x1 into Brizelli's Riverside
and collects $800 (which is big money in this game). The Plug
negotiates to leave the Public there for a measly $100 of the
$300 payoff. T.J. Hooker reappears and hits Ma's Vamp. She collects
on Brizelli's a third time. The Viper recruits as much as he
possibly can -- a single Thug for $300. Money strategies have
been a bust so far, particularly with all of the recruiting needs.
As a result, players are focused on joints (and inflicting harm
on other gangs to slow them down).
Turn 6: Ma recruits a new Vamp for $300. The Plug rolls
another Red 6. The Roach moves Public x2 into his level two Franklin
Hostel and collects $900. Scarface buys his seventh joint while
the Roach picks up another $800 from the Public. The Viper moves
Public x2 into the Cavalry Club and collects $1,700 total, the
first really big payoff in the game.
Turn 7: Ma steers the Public x2 into her Purple District
along Broadway but collects only $100. The Plug finally recruits
a new Vamp for $300. The Roach recruits a new Vamp too, but he
pays $1,500. Scarface buys his eighth joint and moves into the
ninth. Starsky and Hutch (Cop #5) kill the Viper's Vamp. Everyone
has now had their Vamp removed at least once. The Viper recruits
his Vamp for $600 and shoots up the Channel View with his 4 Racketeers
without taking a loss. He's now in his fourth Purple Joint.
Turn 8: Ma negotiates to coordinate Cop action against
the Viper's criminal Racketeer. Innocent bystander Rudy asks,
"Does it feel like it's four against one?" In unison,
all players respond, "yes." Ma vamps the Roach's Thug
down to one while her own goes to two. The Plug vamps the Roach.
The Roach takes it in stride and buys his ninth joint. His buying
has mostly gone unnoticed until now. The Infidel (another not-so-innocent
bystander) asks, "Can I get anyone anything?" The Viper
requests an invisibility cloak for his Vamp. The Roach vamps
the Viper. Being accused of being the only rich player in the
game, the Roach shows his cash pile -- the expensive Vamp purchase
and joint buying spree have left him with less than 1 G. The
Viper picks up $1,000 and moves his Racketeer onto the street
outside Brandon's Bikeshop (when I should have aimed for a joint
with multiple entrances in range of CK's Tobacco). Rosco P. Coltrane
(Cop #3) kills the Plug's Thug. The Cops have been exceptionally
effective in this game.
Turn 9: Ma uses Starsky and Hutch (Cop #5) to kill
both of Scarface's remaining Thugs. Dirty Harry (Cop #9) responds
by killing both of Ma's Thugs. The Plug vamps the Viper to get
two moves and recruits a Thug for $400. The Roach vamps Viper's
lone Thug off the map. Scarface, with just $500 to his name,
gets the roll he needs a Black 1, a Red 1, and a Blue 1.
He bribes a cop and then recruits a new Vamp and a new Thug,
all for just $500. There are ZERO crimes on the board. The Mayor
and Police Commissioner are running ads like it was an election
year! The Viper recruits a new Thug for $400 and vamps the Roach.
The situation is nearly ideal for a ten-joint player -- and even
better for the Roach who is delighted to see the carnage among
his opponents, destroying the very pieces that could oppose him.
Turn 10: Ma scores $600 with a Public x1. The Plug
vamps Ma's Racketeer. Ma collects another $300. The Roach moves
into his 10th joint. Ma collects another $300. Scarface collects
$500; Ma, another $300. The Viper moves Public x1 from Ma's establishment
to Roach's Brandon's Bikeshop to set up a potential raid (the
cops can hit it on a roll of 4 or 6). Both Ma and Viper's Racketeers
are on the street where the only joint owned by the Roach they
can hit is the Bikeshop.
Turn 11: Ma recruits a Thug for $600 and moves into
her 8th joint. She brings a new Cop to bear on the Bikeshop (on
a roll of 3). The cops have a 50% chance of hitting the Bikeshop.
The Plug's roll misses that chance. His Racketeer also can't
hit Brandon's. The Viper pays $500 to show how Plug's lone Thug
can make a suicide attack on the Bikeshop. Everyone forgets that
the Plug's Racketeer (unlike Ma's and the Viper's) has a bazillion
other yellow joints (OK, OK, so it's only eight) he can attack
and easily reach with his roll of 6... D'oh! The Plug collects
more than $1,500. However, that sets up the Roach to buy his
10th joint and use the Public to collect another $1,000 to end
the game with victory. For good measure, the Plug also uses Kojak
(Cop #6) to kill the Viper's Vamp -- a fittin' end to this lady
Interestingly, in this game of killer cops, the Roach was
never bothered by the boyz in blue. I sense a payoff. The Roach's
lone casualty came in the Plug's ill-fated suicide attack on
Turn 2. While the ladies flocked to the Roach's gang at the end,
it wasn't enough to stop the real estate magnate from completing
his domination of the streets of Chicago. 67% of his final cash
was earned after the Roach's penultimate move. Congratulations
to Ben Gardner for his establishment of the Roach motel chain,
staying above the fray, and taking fewer losses than his rivals.
Rumor has it he might try to acquire the Lancaster Host next
The Viper comments on Purple strategies: My Racketeer sat
like a bump on a log for the last three turns waiting for that
one-in-six chance of moving to the last purple joint, CK's Tobacco.
This joint has lousy mobility (ranked 48 out of 59) and, due
to the bridge in the area, is even harder to get to than that
implies. It strikes me that a Purple Monopoly strategy requires
one to own Frankie's House of Cards and CK's Tobacco right from
the get go -- so that one's Racketeer never needs to visit either
one, starting in a cheap Brown joint (preferably Jack's Auto
Body near the Cavalry Club). This makes an early purchase of
the Cavalry Club likely followed by an exit toward Subway #4
(with hopes to land in Channel View followed by the easiest destination
of all, the Pussycat Club). A Purple Cash strategy on the other
hand opens with the Pussycat Club and the Cavalry Club with the
Racketeer in one of them to make a quick upgrade (the former,
the Purple One-Jump Strategy, normally unless one is moving right
after the Bus Station player using the "Bus Station Antidote
Strategy"). In this game, I mixed the two strategies and
never really had much of a chance at either victory condition.
I wuz lucky to come in second; probably wouldn't have if the
game had gone another 2-3 turns.
The prize table is open for business.
GM John Pack oversees his inner circle
... that's finalists to you.